Florida Surgeon General’s comments on child vaccination spark debate among parents, medical experts

In Florida, just over 1 in 5 children aged 5-11 have received the shot, according to the latest state-released data.
Published: Mar. 7, 2022 at 11:23 PM EST
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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) - At a COVID-19 roundtable hosted by Gov. Ron DeSantis Monday, Florida Surgeon General Joseph Ladapo made a surprising announcement.

“The Florida Department of Health will be the first state to officially recommend against the COVID-19 vaccines for healthy children,” he said at the event aimed at addressing ‘COVID Theater.’

“We’re kind of scraping at the bottom of the barrel, particularly with healthy kids in terms of actually being able to quantify with any accuracy and any confidence the even potential of benefit,” Ladapo said.

It was yet another example of the state drawing a line in the sand, publicly disagreeing with the CDC. Like many times before, the news was met with swift criticism by several medical groups.

Dr. Mobeen Rathore is a former president of the Florida Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics. He said vaccines have been proven to be useful for children.

“We must protect our children,” he said, adding that evidence “clearly supports for vaccination for all eligible individuals, including children.”

In Florida, just over 1 in 5 children aged 5-11 have received the shot, according to the latest state-released data.

“I find that number to be sad,” he said.

The issue remains polarizing for parents. Susan, a grandmother in Tallahassee, said there is a lot of information to digest.

“It’s overwhelming, and I probably need to do a lot more research,” she said. “I think I’d need to do a lot of research before I said yes.”

Lindsay Durrenberger is the mother to a six-year-old and a nine-year-old. She said the family counted down the days until the kids were eligible.

“We were so excited,” she said. “We called their pediatrician that day.”

She said the latest news from the DeSantis Administration is frustrating.

“It really just feels dissonant from the medical professionals I am around,” she said.

Both parents agree the ultimate choice still sits with the parents and most minds seemed made up.

“People are ultimately deciding to do whatever they want anyway,” she said.

There is still no vaccine approved for kids under the age of 5. The latest word from Pfizer is that their vaccine is not producing as strong an immune response as they’ve seen in adults or teens, but trials continue.

As of now, the Florida Department of Health has not released specific guidelines mentioned by the Surgeon General.

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